Series: Interview - Robert Garmston and Carolyn McKanders

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    Interview Series 2023

Interview - Robert Garmston and Carolyn McKanders

This interview with Bob Garmston and Carolyn McKanders contains invaluable concrete nuggets with scripts for handling strong feelings and difficult moments in meetings and workshops.


Read more about their work and the interview here.




Robert Garmston is Emeritus Professor of Educational Administration at California State University, Sacramento. He is co-developer of Cognitive Coaching with Art Costa and co-developer of Adaptive Schools with Bruce Wellman. He has worked as an educational consultant and made presentations and conducted workshops for teachers, administrators, and staff developers on leadership, learning, and personal and organizational development in twenty-four countries on five continents. Formerly an administrator and teacher in Saudi Arabia and the United States, his work has been translated into Arabic, Dutch, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish. Bob lives in El Dorado Hills, California, near his five children and five (bright and cute) grandchildren.


Carolyn McKanders is Director Emeritus for Thinking Collaborative, the home of the Adaptive Schools Seminars and Cognitive Coaching Seminars®. She is Co-Founder, along with Michael Dolcemascolo, of The Center for Adaptive Schools.  As an educational consultant, Carolyn specializes in individual, group and organization development. Her passion is supporting quality human relationships through promoting self-love, communication, collaboration and leadership- skills development. Carolyn’s background includes 28 years in the Detroit Public Schools as a teacher, counselor, program administrator, and staff-development specialist. Presently, she presents seminars internationally on developing Adaptive Schools and Organizations, Cognitive Coaching®, enhancing presentation effectiveness, meeting facilitation skills, and honoring equity, inclusion, and diverse voices. 

She also provides polarity management training, which supports individuals and organizations in identifying and managing competing tensions inherent in social systems. In addition to her work in educational settings, she is a family and women’s counselor. From her counseling experience she brings to her work a deep belief in the unlimited capacity and resilience of the human spirit. 


Carolyn and Bob Garmston are excited to announce the publication of their new book: “It’s Your Turn: Teachers As Facilitators”. This work provides teacher leaders and others with robust mental models and practical tools for conducting productive collaborative meetings. 

In this series:

1. Full Interview: Robert Garmston and Carolyn McKanders

In this hour-long conversation, RBT Founder Jon Saphier, interviews Robert Garmston and Carolyn McKanders about their work around the goal of increasing the quality of collaboration in schools to produce benefits for students. 

2. Part 1: Garmston/McKanders - Mindsets of a Teacher Facilitator

In the first part of the interview, Bob and Carolyn offer ways to deal with the inherent paradoxes of peers leading groups of peers.

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3. Part 2: Garmston/McKanders - Never Let a Conflict Go to Waste

This segment of the interview covers self-awareness of oneself as a facilitator.

4. Part 3: Garmston/McKanders - Defusing Feelings & Physical Space

When there are big feelings in a room, it is important to open up a path for feelings to be shared and acknowledged in a safe way.

5. Part 4: Garmston/McKanders - Improving A Whole School through a New View of Teacher Efficacy

This segment addresses how an effective group can make a big impact on improving a whole school.

6. Part 5: Garmston/McKanders - Polarity Management

Facilitators are constantly doing a dance between polarization among people. How do I support people in expanding their perspective while honoring their own perspective?